By now you should know that your resume has to make an impact in a hurry in order to have a chance of getting read.
If your lead-in is a resume summary statement, it has to pack a punch in only 2-3 sentences. How can you write a resume summary that will get your resume read?
1. Insert your impact. The first step is to show what you have to offer a new employer in no uncertain terms. What are you most proud of about your career? What is your biggest accomplishment? And what does that mean for an employer? If your accomplishments come with numbers, all the better. Some examples you can use in your summary:
- “have exceeded sales quotas 18 months running,”
- “reduced operational costs by 35%,”
- “successfully managed administrative responsibilities for a team of organizational leaders,”
- “provided full cycle human resources support for a staff of 500 in a manufacturing environment.
2. Show your scope. Managing three professionals is a different experience than managing 50 customer service staff. Designing a four-page print brochure is different than a 52-page print magazine. Employers like to see that your experience is reflective of their needs, so if you can give the reader details on the scope of your responsibilities, you can prove that you’re ready for the job they’re offering. So here are some ideas of scope statements that you can consider:
- “managed teams of 4-25 to exceed objectives,”
- “developed weekly e-newsletter with an audience of 13,000 readers,”
- “successfully resolved 97% of customer technical issues,”
- “with budgetary responsibility of $2M+.”
3. Plug in your passion. After you outline your sales pitch for why you’re the best for the job through your accomplishments and scope, you want to connect with the reader as a person. People hire people, not resumes. So try to put some language in your resume summary that shows your enthusiasm, your philosophy, or makes the reader feel like they’re reading a note from a friend. See if one of these works for you:
- “Partners passion for extreme customer service with solid operational know-how,”
- “I excel at finding pockets of opportunity in established markets,”
- “I overdeliver every day,”
- “My goal is to be your trusted financial guide.”
4. Liven up your language. Your first instinct may be to embrace traditional business language. It’s safe. It’s how we communicate in the business world, in our memos and emails. But it can also put people to sleep. You have a chance to stand out from the crowd when someone first picks up your resume. Make your writing pop. Choose unique, descriptive, powerful words. Just don’t replace your keywords.
- Instead of “coordinated,” try “spearheaded” or “launched.”
- Replace “consistently exceeded customer requirements” with “guaranteed customer delight 100% of the time.”
- Try dropping “results oriented” for “impact oriented.”
- If anything you write could earn you points playing Corporate Bingo, rethink it.
5. Eliminate the extras. A resume summary statement should be 2-3 sentences, maybe 4-5 lines at the top of the first page. So, use that space wisely. Eliminate any words that don’t sell. Watch for redundancies. And as the old copywriting maxim goes, don’t use two words when one will do.
- Consider whether you need to be both “dynamic,” and “high-energy.” Will one suffice?
- If you’ve “Successfully exceeded sales goals by 20%,” your “success” is implied. Consider eliminating the word.
- Watch for adverbs. Words ending in “ly” rarely add to the meaning of a statement.
- Eliminate passive voice. Things don’t just happen, you make them happen. Own up to it.
With these five steps, you’re well on your way to a resume summary that does a good job of marketing your skills and creating interest in the reader.
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